Get PJ Media on your Apple

Keystone XL Lobbying: Too Important to Fail Again

Pipeline supporters must argue from strength.

by
Tom Harris

Bio

August 22, 2013 - 12:00 am
Page 1 of 2  Next ->   View as Single Page

It is crucially important to the security and prosperity of the United States and Canada that President Obama approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a multibillion dollar project to bring Albertan oil sands bitumen to refineries in Texas. However, with loud, well-funded climate activists in his base opposed to XL because it will encourage expansion of the oil sands, a project they are determined to kill, it is anything but certain that the president will give the green light to the pipeline.

More than anything, Obama does not want to be remembered as the president who “ruined the climate.” That science shows that practically nothing America does will have substantial impact on global climate is immaterial; it is all about perception when it comes to presidential legacies. Consequently, oil sands and pipeline supporters must present arguments that are seen to be unquestionably correct and difficult to defeat, and relate directly to Obama’s main concern — climate change. Otherwise, he will almost certainly turn down the project just as he did last year.

In the past week, pipeline proponents have seized upon the conclusion of the report by energy consultancy IHS CERA Inc. that the project will have “no material impact” on oil sands greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. But IHS’s arguments — which were essentially the same as those made by the State Department several months ago — should not be used.

They are far too easy for pipeline opponents to counter.

IHS asserted the following in a news release about the report:

In the absence of the pipeline, alternate transportation routes would result in oil sands production growth being more or less unchanged.

That is naïve. IHS is apparently assuming that climate change campaigners will be unsuccessful at blocking other proposed oil sands bitumen transportation-system expansions. In reality, all of these plans — Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline to Canada’s west coast, the expansion of the Kinder-Morgan pipeline (also to the B.C. coast), Energy East pipeline across Canada, and expanded rail transport — are under serious threat due to the actions of activists. Their disdain of new pipelines is well known, but few in the public are aware that environmentalists are fighting rail expansion as well. The Sierra Club, Greenpeace and 14 other environmental groups warned the head of CN rail in an open letter in January:

Should CN decide to try to move forward with its proposal, it would face major opposition and risks to the company. We urge you to stop any forward movement with shipping tar sands oil by rail through British Columbia.

Their opposition is not surprising. Climate campaigners want to stop all methods of transporting bitumen to refineries because they are determined to block Canada’s oil sands projects entirely. They believe GHG emissions, specifically carbon dioxide (CO2), from the oil sands will wreck the climate.

IHS also stated in their news release:

The study also found that any absence of oil sands on the U.S. Gulf Coast (the destination for Keystone XL) would most likely be replaced by imports of heavy crude oil from Venezuela, which has the same carbon footprint as oil sands.

That is misleading. One of the benefits of Keystone XL, as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says, is lower gasoline prices. This is to be expected when supply expands and diversifies. With lower prices, consumption will likely rise and so will total CO2 emissions. And it is total CO2 emissions that determine the nation’s overall “carbon footprint.”

The IHS report itself gives a more sophisticated explanation, one that is technically correct — but irrelevant. They assert:

The most likely alternative USGC heavy oil supply is Venezuelan crude which is in the same GHG emissions range as oil sands. Consequently, if oil sands were not consumed in the Gulf Coast, there would be little to no change in the overall GHG intensity of the U.S. crude slate.

IHS defines GHG intensity as the amount of CO2 released per barrel of oil when taking into account “all emissions associated with crude oil production and use, including extracting, refining, transporting, and ultimately consuming the fuel in a vehicle,” a measure they call “well-to-wheels GHG emissions.” They note: “Depending on the crude oil, 70–80% of the well-to-wheels emissions occur when gasoline is combusted in a vehicle.”

But it is not just GHG intensity that determines overall emissions. It is also the total amount of oil that is combusted in all vehicles using the fuel. As explained earlier, with lower prices predicted by DOE, consumption — and so the total “carbon footprint” — will almost certainly rise, all other factors being equal.

The strongest reason for Keystone XL is that it greatly enhances U.S. energy security by replacing oil imports from unfriendly dictatorships with oil from Canada. And whether one believes in dangerous CO2-driven climate change or not, virtually all experts agree that the climatic impact of oil sands expansion is negligible since the project produces only about one thousandth of humanity’s total emissions.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Cui bono? As the lawyers say. "Who benefits?"

The answer, of course is...OPEC

The Tar Sands, Shale Oil etc make no difference in GHG but they endanger OPEC and OPEC's got a lot of money....which purchases a lot of Environmentalist catspaws.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The delay in foreign oil in the Keystone pipeline will be good for Canada. Even though there are some thirty pipelines under construction in the U.S.A. the U.S. A. State Department will continue to delay this pipeline.

Apparently the State Department feels importing oil from South America for refining in Texas with a higher sulfuric content than the oil taken from the OIL SANDS in Canada is preferable. Mind you the Texas Refineries were constructed to refine "heavy" oils.

The environmental uproar funded by the Rockefeller Foundation through the $100,000,000.00 donation to Tides Canada agitation propaganda is also helping Canada.

Canada will now be shipping Western Canada Oil to the east coast of Canada and avoiding the 19% discount charge for Texas refining. The jobs will remain in Canada; the relationship between North American neighbors will be weakened and the American oil industries will feel better. (Rockefeller money is Oil money)

There is now in place $12,000,000,000.00 to provide a Trans-Canada pipeline;correcting the Trudeau vote gathering political scam from the seventies; and forcing the self serving Provincial governments from continuing to play irresponsibility politics.

Warren Buffet, as usual well ahead of the pack, has invested heavily in the well managed Canadian Oil Sands. All is well, the sleazy politico/climate city-idiots have over played their hand again.

Thank you President Obama advisers and "What does it matter" leadership U.S.A. State Department eunuchs. All is well in my native land, now finally lead by Conservative thinking. Cheers;
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
if our resident commie gun runner (or whatever he calls himself these days) does allow it to proceed it will go against everything our 'turd in a three thousand $$ suit' stands for. furthering capitalism by producing real, good paying (non-gov.) jobs and thereby doing what is best for America is not a hole he plays well.

good rule of thumb: if it looks like a no-brainer win/win, just remember the no-brainer lose/lose we already have been blessed with.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Buffet's railroad is currently hauling a lot of oil. What if there continues to be no KXL pipeline AND Mr. Buffett (and other railroad owners) decides he needs to raise his rail rates for hauling oil by 25%? Or 50%? Or 100%? Why would he raise his rates? Because he can.

What are the oil companies going to do then? They are going to pay his rates because they have no choice - it's either that or they reduce/stop their oil production. So, either gas prices skyrocket to offset the cost of shipping via rail or we see gasoline rationing ala the 1970's because we have very little gas available.

That's one very effective way to reduce both the production and consumption of oil, isn't it?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sell jingoism. American workers and American suppliers will receive Canadian dollars to build the pipeline.

JOBS are Joe Biden's most important three letter word. Whyeven Obama himself has a "laser like focus on jobs".
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
In all honesty, talk is cheap.

What is communicated is, "We will get around to this, when it suits us".

So, my message to those Americans who view Canada (at least the version that is at home with fly over country) as a friend, the goodwill to you from Canada is not infinite.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Commander 0 gas already decided - not to decide. It's the typical cop-out of interest group politicians who are confronted with a decision with their supporting groups on both sides. They are paralyzed, as they have no other criteria for making a decision. The public interest is not on their radar screen.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do we still need Keystone to deliver Canadian oil when we have our own NDakota oil?

How about a shorter Keystone: from ND to TX?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Normal headlines today on the AGW side typically cite "95% of all scientists" as supporting the AGW position. That is stuff and nonsense, but the MSM keeps indoctrinating the low information voter with that message. That is a tough hill to climb.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I remember the lists of the "concerned scientists" who opposed various nuclear weapons projects back in the day. Investigation revealed that most were "scientists" of the political variety.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only problem with the idea is most of the American, and Canadian, Media are on the side of the whacko environmentalists and, even if these open and honest hearings WERE convened, and went off without one side shouting down, and shutting down, the other, the media would NEVER show both sides.

The people who attended the conference or hearings would hear the truth and the videos would be put up on Youtube. Fox News, Townhall, PJMedia, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would all be talking about it but since Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Jay Leno aren't discussing, and agreeing with it all, the nameless, faceless, ignorant, apathetic masses would never hear the message and when confronted with the truth, they would simply say "Those videos were edited and you're lying."
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The liberal media also forgets that Warren buffet and his Choo Choo Trains are shipping the same crude oil to the US now the average rail cars hauling the Tar sands oil is 200,000 units- Obama appears to be doing this for his buddy Buffett - greedy capitalist s
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's the message that needs to be marketed then. Choo Choo's less green than pipeline. Choo Choo's used to enrich greedy white guy.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Watermelons are not interested in poking Mr. Buffet in the eye. He is one of them and a very close friend of the Puppets handlers. The pipeline will not cross American land until we rid the govt (from the local level on up to the national level) of the Anti-Americans.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good luck with that. The schools are lousy with them and they are teaching our kids to be anti-americans. It's a perpetual-motion machine now.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All